MAYOR SIGNS SENIOR TAX FREEZE ORDINANCE
(4/24/2007) 2715 Households in City Eligible for Program
NEW HAVEN- Mayor John DeStefano, Jr., signed an ordinance into law today freezing property taxes for qualified senior at current rates. Eligibility for this program requires that the homeowner be 70 years of age or older, a resident of New Haven for at least 10 years and have an income of under $50,000. The City estimates 2,715 households meet these requirements to benefit from this tax relief. Homeowners are expected to save an average of $450 per home in the first year of the freeze.
The Board of Aldermen approved this ordinance last week and received substantial community support for their decision. “I was so happy when I learned that they passed the ordinance. You don’t know what this means to seniors who don’t make much and can barely afford all of their bills,” said East Shore resident Phyllis Mazziotti. “I am thankful to the Mayor for making this happen. I think he’s really doing the right thing!”
Mazziotti has been paying $5,962 in residential property taxes. Without the tax freeze her taxes would have increased to $6,694. The freeze will save her $1,035.
Margaret Whatley of the Dixwell neighborhood said, “I think this is a wonderful initiative. Everyone seems to be on a fixed income these days but seniors are living on an even tighter budget because they have less coming in.”
“We are proud to do this for our seniors,” said DeStefano. “After a lifetime of working hard they deserve to be protected from high property taxes. Therefore, we are putting the ordinance into place to protect them and their homes.”
There will be a $2,000 cap place on the yearly benefit that a senior may receive. Any amount over the $2,000 can either be paid by the senior or put into deferral. The tax free benefit ends when the property is sold or transferred. Seniors who earn between $50,000 and $75,000 qualify for a deferral program that allows taxes to be deferred until the property is sold or transferred out of their name. Deferred taxes are charged a prime interest rate but create an option for individuals who do not meet the income requirements of the tax freeze. Homeowners who are 62 years of age and older qualify for the freeze if their spouse met all requirements at their time of death.
“This initiative is an excellent opportunity for senior homeowners in New Haven,” said Darcey Cobbs, Director of Elderly Services for the City. “We currently have programs for seniors who are renting in New Haven and the tax freeze allows us to offer something for seniors who are home owners. They deserve this break after working all their lives and paying taxes. Our department is excited to be a part of this program and will be available for assisting seniors with their applications.”
Applications for the program can be picked up at the City’s six senior centers or by contacting the Department of Elderly Services at 946-7854.
Contact Name: Jessica Mayorga
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Contact Phone: 203-946-7660